Having made a goal-line clearance in the first half and helped keep Bayern Munich at bay for the majority of the second period, Leonardo Bonucci’s performance in the Champions League last 16 first leg even drew praise from Pep Guardiola following the final whistle on Tuesday evening at Juventus Stadium.
“I’m honoured by such compliments,” Bonucci began in his interview to Sky and Mediaset, “but we’re now focused on going to Munich and beating them in their own backyard. In the last three years, we’ve reached the Champions League quarter-finals, Europa League semi-finals and most recently the Champions League final. On a continental level, the club has done a lot to return to its traditionally high standards.”
The defender is confident in the Bianconeri’s abilities of reaching the next round, but claimed this would only be achieved by combining the noteworthy elements of this week’s display with a better start at the Allianz Arena on 16 March.
“Tuesday’s match has given us confidence ahead of the return leg, but only if we take on our hosts with great humility and respect because they too are a very difficult side to beat.
“We believe we can go there and get the result we need, but we’ll need a different approach to the encounter, especially with regards to our first-half performance. Bayern have the advantage, as they only need not to concede in order to reach the quarter-finals, but equally we have reason to be confident because we’re also a strong side.”